Courtney Tamuzza, 36, general manager, A Party Center, Fairfield, N.J., was working toward becoming a nurse in college, but also working at a rental company that she had joined when she was 17 and in high school.
“I had wanted to work in the medical field for some years and had volunteered at the local hospital all throughout high school, but I grew to really enjoy my rental job. I liked that no day was ever the same. I was able to be outside and not tied to a desk or indoor job all day. I decided to change my major to business at that point,” Tamuzza says.
While she initially started by helping to clean tents at a Taylor Rental/Drakes Rental location for the summer, she says the owner hired her because he liked her handwriting.
“The first year, I cleaned tents all summer on my hands and knees. We didn’t have buffers or anything of that sort. I went out on a few small jobs, learning how to install tents. By the following year, I was one of the main tent installers and by the time I was 23, I was running my own store,” she says.
Becoming a manager catapulted her into a career in rental. “I was lucky to have a boss to guide me through and help make me a better manager. I was still in school at that time and had no prior managing experience. I often called him to ask him a million questions,” Tamuzza says.
A Party Center is a full-service event rental company offering tents to tabletop items for weddings and backyard parties to corporate events. The company has 20 full-time and two part-time employees.
The best part of her job, she says, is working with her team. “Teaching and getting everyone involved in the work we are doing with our clients and appreciating what they do is, in my opinion, the best part. I love my job and I have made a career out of something that most people might see as ‘just a job,’” she says.
Tamuzza has been active in the ARA of New Jersey, serving as president in 2018, 2020 and 2021. She also was named American Rental Association (ARA) Region Two person of the year in 2019.
“I attended my first ARA of New Jersey meeting in 2009 with my boss, who was then president of the ARA of New Jersey. He introduced me to several people and after that, I started going to one or two meetings a year. In 2015, I was asked to join the board as secretary and was asked to be president in 2018,” she says.
To attract young professionals to the equipment and event rental industry as a career, Tamuzza believes rental companies have to be willing to give someone an opportunity to advance.
“A lot of rental companies are family-owned businesses and someone from the ‘outside’ could be seen as not being trustworthy because they are not family. I was lucky enough to be given those opportunities early on,” she says.